What is Domiciliary Care Allowance?

Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment to parents who have children with special needs. Parents need to apply through the Department of Social Protection and show proof that their child needs substantial care when compared to a child of a similar age.

This can be difficult to articulate on a paper application, but parents must focus on the care aspect of raising their children.

If you have more than one child with special needs, you must apply separately for each child.

Does your child need a diagnosis for Domiciliary Care Allowance?

The good news is a formal diagnosis is not essential. The process is more challenging, so you must put additional information into your application. This is a relief to some of my families, who can struggle for years before getting any official diagnosis.

Is Domiciliary Care Allowance means-tested?

This is one of the few entitlements that is based on something other than the parents’ financial situation. It is based on the care needs of children. It is essential to apply first before you send off any other application.

How is Domiciliary Care Allowance paid?

The Department will use the date they receive your application as the start date from when they will pay.

You can apply for the payment to be backdated by up to 6 months if you can show a good reason for a delay.

It is important to send off your application without delay even if you are awaiting additional information.

2024 Domiciliary Care Allowance Rate

Parents receive a tax-free payment of €340 per month for each child awarded the allowance.

It will be paid from the month after your application is granted and your payment will be on the third Tuesday of every month.

How to complete the Domiciliary Care Allowance Form?

Part 1 is the parents’ personal details, and Part 2 is your child’s information. Part 3 requires you to provide bank details. Often parents assume the payment is for their children so they might give their children’s bank details, only put your own bank details in.

Then you need to start showing clearly the care needs in Part 4. Write down any extra measures you take; the more relevant information you can supply, the better. Above all, demonstrate how you support your child and provide additional care above that of a child of a similar age.

Remember to attach any additional support you have to each question.

Parts 6 & 7 of the form must be completed by your child’s doctor.

Does your child see professionals?

If so, document your appointments on the form. I also recommend you return to your GP, Therapist, Consultant, SNA and other professionals who assist your child and ask them to complete the Dom Care 3 to support your application.

It is not helpful for your profession to state that they support the awarding of the Domiciliary Care Allowance. Your profession needs to describe how your child requires additional support and some working examples.

This can be a deciding factor in getting your case approved.

Where can parents go for support?

Citizen Information can answer any general questions you may have. Parents can also get great support from other parents who have been through the process and groups such as DCA Warriors. A fabulous Facebook group supporting parents through what can be a stressful time.


What to do if your application for Domiciliary Care Allowance is rejected?

This is when parents need to understand the Department’s set of guidelines and how they assess the medical eligibility of your son or daughter for this allowance.


It is important in your appeal that you focus your application on the extra care you have to provide for your child, not on your child’s diagnosis or disability.

Parents need to go into great detail in describing all of the care and attention required by their children.

The most important advice I can give you is appeal, appeal, appeal. If you believe your child is entitled to this payment, get prepared and put your most robust case forward. You must appeal the decision within 21 days to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Just don’t give up. I have met with many parents who have struggled to get Domiciliary Care Allowance in place but have persevered. Eventually, it gets approved and this will open access to other entitlements, medical cards and allow parents to pay for more private supports.

As a last resource, you might want to contact solicitor Gareth Noble, who has helped many families over the years get what they are entitled to through appeals.


When does Domiciliary Care Allowance end?

This ends when your child turns 16. It can cease before 16 if your child no longer meets the criteria, such as their care needs has subsided or on the opposite side they have moved into full-time residential care.

When your child turns 16, they can apply for Disability Allowance, which will be their payment. Parents can continue receiving other entitlements such as Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, Incapacity Child Tax CreditHousehold Benefits PackageCarer’s Support Grant, etc. if they meet the criteria.

For a full list of entitlements, click on our A-Z Guide of Special Needs Entitlements.”


Where to get the Domiciliary Care Allowance form?

You can request the application form from the Department by phone: (071) 915 7100. Alternatively, you can apply online.


Domiciliary Care Allowance waiting time 2024?

The Department aims to decide 90% of new claims within 10 weeks of receipt. 8-12 weeks is a good guide on when you should hear back on your application. I recommend photocopying everything you send to the Department just in case your file goes “missing!”

Can Domiciliary Care Allowance be reviewed?

The Department of Social Protection can review Domiciliary Care Allowance to see if you still meet the criteria. This can be stressful, but similar to when you applied, have all your information ready, including reports and supporting letters and be prepared.